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Tenants First

Our dedicated Tenants First team give specialist tenancy and family support. We offer: 

  • family intervention support
  • tenancy support – including help with claiming benefits, support accessing services and grants
  • referrals to third party services like Citizens Advice, charities, and trusts
  • housing coaches
  • mental health (housing related) support for adults and families
  • employment training support - helping tenants to get into training, skills, and employment (funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund)

We support tenants with a wide range of tenancy issues, as well as offering family support to those who have multiple support needs at a complex level. Our support is targeted to individual needs, with practical help and advice offered. Find out more about the help available below:

Tenants First team

Our dedicated key workers give practical, hands-on intensive support to tenants with multiple and complex needs. They use evidence-based family intervention methodology. They help families to identify their problems at the root cause, and after initial assessments, provide the family with a realistic, tailored support plan.

Our key workers support tenants who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Involved in criminal or anti-social behaviour
  • Struggling with a high level of debt
  • In danger of losing their home
  • Involved in domestic abuse and / or sexual violence
  • Experiencing untreated/ unmanaged mental health problems
  • Experiencing untreated/ unmanaged physical health problems
  • Experiencing substance misuse problems
  • Children in need (education/ parenting/ safeguarding)

Our tenant support officers provide specialist money management advice and support to tenants who have difficulties with:

  • Tackling and reducing their rent arrears
  • Certain vulnerabilities which means they need help completing online applications for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
  • Budgeting
  • Dealing with additional rent charges due to under occupation sometimes known as ‘bedroom tax’
  • Universal Credit

Our officers are able to assist with budgeting advice, looking at income and expenditure with tenants. You can self-refer for tenancy support by contacting your Neighbourhood Team or email tenantsupportservice@berneslaihomes.co.uk if you need help with maximising your income, managing debt, or budgeting advice.

Our housing coaches support tenants on our waiting list for rehousing. The housing assessment team identifies applicants who may need extra support to set up and maintain a tenancy with us.

Our support is very hands on, practical, advising and guiding to ensure that the applicant is all set up to care for their home, report repairs, pay bills and utilities, and be part of the community where they live.

Our mental health housing support officers provide flexible and responsive housing related support to tenants who have low level mental health needs affecting their ability to maintain a successful tenancy.

They work with tenants to provide a range of practical and emotional support and interventions to reduce the risk of tenancy failure.

Contact the Tenants First team
Case study - Alannah

Since her mother’s death, Alannah* had struggled to manage her home environment and her physical and mental wellbeing. Drinking heavily, she was living without heating or hot water. We became aware of Alannah’s situation when she failed to respond to her annual gas safety inspection. When a heating services inspector visited unannounced, he became concerned and referred her to the Tenants First team.

Since then, Paul (one of our family intervention service keyworkers), has helped Alannah turn her life around. She now has heating and hot water and we’ve supported her to access grants and extra benefit payments to replace damaged household goods. Paul has supported Alannah to work with her GP and District Nurse to manage both her medication and mental wellbeing and organised a detox to help with her alcohol misuse. She’s started to work with the Social Services Prescribing Service and has discussed returning to her former career as a podiatrist on a voluntary basis.

Tenants First Case Study Alannah
Tenants First Case Study Family B
Case study - Family B

Family B* was referred into the Tenants First service as there were safeguarding concerns.

The family worked with social care and Berneslai Homes and received support with mental health, parenting, budgeting, and gaining employment.

One parent had always struggled with drugs and alcohol and worked closely with us and Recovery Steps to reduce substance abuse and improve their overall emotional wellbeing, using different coping mechanisms and strategies.

They now work full time and continue to access the services and support they need.

*Names and personal details have been changed.

Case study - Lester's story

Our Tenants First team work together to give tenants the right support at the right time, always using our 3Cs values - customer first, can do attitude, and curious.

This helps them to identify what help is needed, tailored to the individual. The team look at different ways they can provide support, so that any positive changes made are long-term and sustainable.

Lester, who was previously homeless and unemployed, was supported by the team and is now living and working in Barnsley. 

This is Lester's story. Thanks to Lester, Helen, and John for taking part.

Registered address:

10th floor, Gateway Plaza, off Sackville St, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2RD

Berneslai Homes Limited is a company controlled by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 4548803